February 9, 2010
Magnetic Tuning Method Enhances Data Storage
Researchers in Chicago and London have developed a method for controlling the properties of magnets that could be used to improve the storage capacity of next-generation computer hard drives.
Magnets that can readily switch their polarity are widely used in the computer industry for data storage, but they present an engineering challenge: A magnet's polarity must be easily switched when writing data to memory, but be difficult to switch when storing or reading it.
Citation: "Switchable hardening of a ferromagnet at fixed temperature," by D.M. Silevitch, G. Aeppli and T.F. Rosenbaum, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition, Jan. 29, 2010. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0910575107
Funding: US Department of Energy and the United Kingdom Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Image Caption: A magnetic crystal sits on the head of a dime for scale. Scientists exploit the randomness of the magnetic field in the crystal at the molecular level to control the properties of the magnet as a whole. The chip underneath the crystal is a magnetic sensor. Credit: University of Chicago
On the Net: